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The mini skirt – pleated, A-line or straight cut – is a wardrobe staple that both good girls and bad girls covet. Good girls love it for adding flirtatious edge to a modest ensemble, while bad girls adore its straightforward sex appeal. Whether dressed up with bling, boots and leather jacket, or dressed down with a tee, cardi and sneakers, the mini skirt can be depended on to give outfits extra oomph.
Enter Taylor Swift, who has embraced both good girl and bad girl personas throughout the past decade to equally memorable effect – her transformation from lovelorn girl next door to vengeful pop princess in 2017 was a particularly stunning pivot. Who better than this chameleon to give us inspo on how to style the mini? Drawing from the effortless glam of her country-pop days and the hard-edged looks of her Reputation era, I assembled two outfits centered on the same mini skirt in different colors.
Back in 2012, Taylor was all about girl-next-door appeal with a dose of vampiness. Since then, she has left the squeaky clean image of her early days behind with a newfound love for “tight little skirts” and bold red lipstick, but ultimately her style remains easy breezy with occasional bursts of country star glamor. In the music video for I Knew You Were Trouble, she’s a lovelorn cowgirl singing about the departure of a bad boy lover while dressed in a ripped tee, classic blue jeans and battered boots. On stage, she hits the sweet spot between all American sweetheart and seductress with tailored short-shorts in juicy colors and form-fitting Breton tops. Sweet yet sophisticated, her style says “I’m a girl next door but I’m cool too.”
The Taylor of that era would be right at home in a white mini skirt, which I paired with a striped top for good girl vibes and an oversized denim jacket for a hint of Americana. A boxy, color-blocked crossbody bag gives the outfit a dose of uptown chic. I kept the color palette bright and light, save for a dash of romand’s Zero Gram Matte Lipstick in Sunlight and a red polka dot headband, a reference to her Red album. Finally, to make her brown block-heel oxfords pop, I paired them with sparkly golden socks that hint at more glamorous changes to come!
Five years after the Red album, Taylor broke out of her good girl persona by singing “Look what you made me do” while dressed in a sequined leotard and thigh-high boots, with glamazon makeup to match. Her hard-edged style during the Reputation era – think bold hues, dramatic silhouettes and glittery embellishments – is in direct contrast to the soft romanticism and preppy leanings of her country sweetheart days. Primarily in black but with bursts of jewel tones, this wardrobe signaled a radical change in her musical persona. She was still singing about heartbreak but in a bold, abrasive way that indicated the country darling was ready to unleash her inner bad girl.
Taking inspiration from her music video wardrobes as well as her Reputation tour outfits, I assembled a high-octane outfit anchored by a black mini skirt and a skintight black top with daring front cut-outs. To up the fashion stakes, I paired those pieces with towering black boots for dominatrix energy, as well as a sequined belt bag for extra edge. Silver-tone dangly earrings in cool, clean and geometric designs, as well as a rhinestone-encrusted snake ring brimming with gothic vibes, extend the drama. Since it’s 2021, I envisioned the singer grabbing this pop-star-appropriate mask before heading out, and to satisfy the inner vixen, she’d take a swipe of dark purple lipstick!
Sadder, Wiser, Stronger
Never one to be boxed in by a single style, pop’s golden girl has transcended the good-girl bad-girl divide, a development cemented by the 2020 releases of sister albums Folklore and Evermore. Juxtaposing deep, dark emotions against wispy folk in her songs, she’s gone through yet another transformation, with a cabin chic wardrobe to match. No longer a wide-eyed ingénue nor a glamorous rebel, Taylor Swift has matured into a wise woman with a guitar – someone whose romantic adventures have brought her inner strength.
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